What is a monk to do when he is lonely? When he is blue?
When you reach that low point where you feel you are the loneliest person in the world, who or what do you turn to for relieve?
The Dalai Lama says “Don’t scratch the itch.” Better still, he cautions, “Don’t have the itch in the first place.” I paraphrase His Holiness’ words, but not their meaning.* Don’t have the itch in the first place.
That may be easy for a virgin entering monastic life as an adolescent. But what do you tell a grown man or woman who had not entered their spiritual path until experiencing the warmth, comfort and love in the arms of truly caring and compassionate mate? Something so good could not be so bad. Even years later when one has only a dim memory of giving one self completely to another so that both could share the ecstasy that Buddhist say comes only upon death — and in sexual union! It can be an out-of-body experience that unites, shattering the dualistic mind, if only for a second or for a lifetime.
Should I give up this yearning for the mere touch of another? Should I mark it up as just another depravity on my part, a defilement that my mind causes in my dreams and my waking hours?
Why has such an overwhelming sense of sexuality come over me as I draw nearer and nearer to spirituality?
Take on a consort, Michael J. Didn’t Buddha have a wife and child? Didn’t Shakyamuni Buddha, or Siddhartha, take a Dakini on as a consort in one of his many incarnations?
Who, then, are those lovely women I see sitting on a knee of a Buddha? And what can a bodhisattva do when a woman wraps her most intimate parts around his most private ones in those paintings that suggest Nirvana can be reached through some tantric practice with an able and willing partner?
Forgive me for still being human. I dreamed I felt the warmth of another as we rode an escalator together and our shoulders came into contact immediately. The contact remained throughout the time it took to scale the short distance. The warmth from the touch lasted for what seemed like forever. I never wanted the ride to end, for the shoulder to be removed. I could have died and be happy right then and there.
I awoke and felt compelled to plea my case to the universe, hoping I’d get the answer my soul can live with. Break it to me gently, please.
I’ll return to my cave after the verdict.
* * * *
*(If one is itchy, then one scratches himself.
Better than any number of scratches
However, is when one does not itch at all.
— His Holiness the Dalai Lama quoting Nargajuna, the Indian scholar, with a three-line thought on the question of erotic love.